January 20, 2015

The demands of life on all fronts can be very overwhelming and challenging, even for the best work-life balancers. But frankly, we all need a break sometimes. If you never take a vacation because you dread the pile up of work or feel as though no one can fill in for you, you’re not alone. In fact, 40 percent of all Americans don’t use all of their vacation time, leaving 430 million days of unused paid vacation a year.1But what if stepping away from your daily grind made you better at your job?

Whether it’s a vacation or stay-cation, a break from your normal routine may be just what the doctor ordered to keep your stress levels from sky-rocketing. Vacations and even shorter breaks, where we can remove ourselves from the demands of life, can have many rewards. But vacations bring more than that: they interrupt the cycle of stress that can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Let’s look at a few reasons why getting away is beneficial, both personally and professionally!

Change in perspective:

Perhaps it’s hearing a different language, trying new food, or just changing the rhythm of your day, but stepping away from your normal routine helps you to see the world under a different lens. This fresh perspective can inspire creativity or new ideas for handling any challenges you’ve been grappling with. There’s a tremendous opportunity to think in ways that you normally don’t when you’re stuck in the office.

Push beyond your comfort zone:

Taking a vacation can be seen as a challenge because you’re forced to leave your familiar surroundings; but, look at this as an excellent opportunity to delegate responsibilities and view how your department performs while you’re away. Professionally, this is great for growth and change as you step away from the norm; personally, this makes you more available to deepen relationships with your family and prolong those memories even after you return.

Less chance of burn out:

Regularly taking time to relax can decrease your chances of feeling stuck in a rut. One of the key benefits of taking time off work is that you won’t feel all the pressures and discouragement that arise once you begin showing symptoms of burnout.

Increased mental capacity:

Our brains are like sponges – they can only take so much. Working all the time and getting things done might make you think you’re the king of the world, but your brain is feeling something completely different. Travel is similar to learning a new subject, providing an opportunity to flex the mind and create opportunities for new learning, new ideas, and stimulating new neuron connections.

Higher productivity:

The New York Times reports that “the importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously.”2 Simply put, vacations can help reset your mind. Count on being more productive if you’re taking vacations. Upon returning from vacation, you are likely to put more emphasis on the work you have to make up and that renewed energy and positivity is contagious and can help the entire team be more productive.

If you need a break, there are several different options for getting one. You can go for a long and luxurious vacation, a relaxing and simple weekend stay-cation, or short and sweet break. You can even have minutes-long breaks that you take throughout the day to keep productivity higher and to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. The benefits are highly rewarding so take your pick, and take a break soon!

Do you take the time to recharge or are you guilty of being a workaholic?

Posted By: Ariana Hampton-Marcell

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